For the last five years Trenton Central High School has operated from four different buildings within Trenton while students waited for a new high school. Beginning Monday, September 9, the 1,850 students finally will be together under one roof — a new one that does not leak.
With the newly built Trenton Central High School set to open this fall, the district administration and staff have been tirelessly planning a smooth transition. Even in June, before the last school year came to a close, rising juniors and seniors came together in a large auditorium at the College of New Jersey to learn what they might have in common with students they may not have seen since elementary school, and those they had never met.
The move to the new building “means we are one family,” said Principal Hope Grant at the event. “It doesn’t matter what part of Trenton you are from, when you step into Trenton Central High School, we are a family.”
The program that day encouraged students to find commonality with other students who had experienced a disappointment, fell short of a goal, knew a loved one with a disability, had a parent who died, or had addiction in the family. After they stood in solidarity they were then asked what they would do to make the school a better place. “We’ve been separated so long that we should realize that we are one,” said one student.
Current Superintendent Fred McDowell reminded the group that the events are “not just about a building. Without you,” he told students, “it means absolutely nothing,” he said. The event, led by Challenge Day, an anti-bullying organization, was months in the planning and involved help from the Trenton High Alumni Association, City Hall and the Housing Authority staff (as volunteer greeters), most wearing red and black shirts, the colors of the Trenton Tornadoes.
Many volunteers had graduated from the original 1932 red brick high school with its recognizable white columns in the front, which closed in 2014 after 82 years. Common complaints had been buckled floors, mold, roof leaks, and general disrepair. Mayor Reed Gusciora, then a state assemblyman, pushed the state to invest in the school, and eventually the New Jersey Schools Development Authority funded a complete reconstruction — a new, estimated $155 million, 350,000-square-foot building — although some in Trenton wanted to preserve the old building.
Now that the two-story new building is a gleaming new sight at 400 Chambers Street, “the challenge is bringing the students together, returning as one learning community,” said Chief Schools Officer (secondary schools) Shelley Jallow.
Among several committees preparing for the transition, a student engagement committee has been planning informational and student bonding events that will continue throughout the year, beginning with a three-day orientation for students and parents on August 26, 27, and 29. Open houses for the community are tentatively planned for Saturdays, September 7 and 21.
Trenton Board of Education President Addie Daniels-Lane, a 1974 graduate of Trenton Central High School, said that “on a personal note, I was saddened to see the old building demolished, but I realized that unfortunately it had outlived its usefulness. I also understood that in order for our students to be truly future-ready, we needed to start with a future-ready building.”
She celebrates the opening with the rest of the board. “We are all excited and eagerly anticipating the opening. This new school represents an opportunity to offer our students unparalleled learning experiences in a state-of-the-art facility.
“As of September 1 our high school students still have the best learning environment possible. (The new school) presents an occasion for the students to unite, to take advantage of all the resources, and show our city and state what can be done when given the needed resources and support.
“I offer our students a challenge: ‘You’ve got the best so be sure to be at your best.’”
In the new high school the smaller “learning communities” that defined the separated schools will stay. These are the School of Visual Arts, which was located at 544 Chestnut Avenue; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which was located at 535 Hanover Avenue, the former site of the Daylight Twilight Alternative High School; Communications, which was at 520 Chestnut Avenue; Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism, and Business, also at Hanover Avenue. The Health Science Academy has been offered through the Mercer County Technical School District.
The learning academies will each have their own leadership, separate entrance, and color scheme. Retaining separate identities went into the architectural planning.
Common spaces will be “warm and welcoming,” said Jallow. “Environment has a lot to do with behavior. We wanted to create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning.”
The new school has one cafeteria, plus a restaurant, an outdoor amphitheater, and an auditorium ripe for student productions and appropriate for graduation. It boasts a weight room, an auxiliary gymnasium in addition to the main one, a dance studio, media center, and swimming pool. There is more space for kitchen and culinary skills, and the automotive technology space has been expanded to work not only on cars but RVs and small trucks. There is a copy/printing business center. Some historic pieces from the old building grace the courtyard, and four 1930s-era mosaics were moved to the new building.
The curriculum will incorporate technology, said Jallow, with state-of-the-art career technology education, which is an up and coming college pathway and lifelong learning skill, in the education field. Teachers are going to be seeking externships with local organizations and businesses to help them learn how their content areas relate to industry. This is a new program for Trenton, though it is done elsewhere in the country.
Planning for the physical space and curriculum has been ongoing for several years. First, the temporary locations had to be brought up to standards and furniture moved. Current Principal Hope Grant has served as principal to four separate buildings, visiting between them all, with a public address system that worked for all buildings at the same time. Some of the temporary spaces had new amenities, like a dance studio in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, but students had to make do with satellite libraries.
Although none of the incoming high school students had studied in the old school, the rising 10th graders were together last year in the new Ninth Grade Academy, at 500 Perry Street. The former Trenton Times building was formerly a K-8 charter school, International Academy of Trenton, which closed, and the district quickly transformed the building last summer. (The ninth graders had been in the old Monument School on Pennington Street.) Some of the first purchases were bigger chairs and desks.
There, students prepare to enter high school, with smaller communities within the building and early career exploration, said Jallow. “It’s an important grade, a predictor grade, on who might be graduating and attending college. Before the academy opened we envisioned how we make this conducive for getting young people to be successful.”
The first students from the new Ninth Grade Academy will be the new 10th grade class in the high school The new seniors will be its first graduating class. “A high school in one location is welcomed by all. To just be in one place creates synergy within and across academics where appropriate,” said Jallow.
“A lot of time, effort, and sacrifice has gone into creating a premiere school. For students. We want to put the students first, give them a safe space where they can have access to an education that will prepare them for college to career.”
Trenton Central High School, 400 Chambers Street, Trenton 08609. 609-656-4900. www.trentonk12.org.
Last summer Achievers Early College Prep (ECP) Charter School in Trenton was tackling all that opening a new school entails: getting a building in shape, securing the first sixth grade class, and completing meticulous paperwork.
But what a difference a year makes. Achievers ECP is now welcoming most of last year’s sixth graders as seventh graders, and is ready to teach a new sixth grade class. And next year at this time, the original sixth graders will be eighth graders, as the new public charter school is growing, one grade at a time.
Located in the former St. Stanislaus School, built in 1925 on Smith Street in the South Trenton neighborhood, Achievers ECP is equipped with an all-purpose room, offices, and classrooms. But it also has a built-in philosophy: that college is attainable, and by fostering partnerships among other educators and colleges, the school will graduate digitally literate graduates who are prepared for jobs that may not even exist today.
The idea that college is attainable is evident throughout the building. Co-founder Efe Odeleye has made it a point to hang college pennants throughout — and even name homerooms for the colleges of the homeroom teachers — to get students familiar with college names and to show that college is ahead for them.
The public charter school highlights STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics)-based experiences such as lessons in coding and engineering challenges designing a catapult and building robots from model kits. Each student has a computer.
Achievers ECP is the result of creative thinking by two sisters who were raised to respect education and, through their church outreach experiences, were taught to make an impact in their communities. The daughters of Nigerian immigrants who settled in New York before moving to New Jersey were raised by a taxi driver father who eventually earned a master’s degree in business administration. Their mother cleaned to make a living until they started a beauty supply business that grew to three shops.
The sisters used to talk about what should change in schools and education. Odeleye was a journalism major at Rutgers and got her master’s degree in government administration at the University of Pennsylvania after learning to love teaching in a Salvadorian neighborhood for Teach for America. She spent five years in Nigeria with her husband and family, and there, acquired the perspective of a developing country, and what it means when the baseline is low and everyone has common goals.
As adults, Odeleye and her sister, Osen Osagie, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University and a master’s in educational leadership and administration from New York University, were still talking about what they would change in education. They asked each other questions like, “why are kids in the United States not jumping on the digital bandwagon? Why is so much attention placed on brick and mortar?”
Soon the sisters decided to test their ideas and held a series of pop-up discussions and focus groups, for example, at the Trenton Free Public Library and Family Success Center. They selected a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum called Project Lead The Way, a hands-on, problem-solving approach to teaching.
Odeleye says they also thought about, “How do we learn from past mistakes? What happened at the charter schools that were forced to close?” They sat down with other school leaders and built trust, she says. “We let it be known we weren’t stepping on toes but were here to enhance the landscape.” Achievers ECP opened with 70 students (they are approved for 90 in each grade).
A recurring theme is reducing barriers that discourage applying to college. Students at Achievers ECP can earn 60 credits toward colleges, partnering with Burlington County Community College in Mt. Laurel, and soon, other nearby community colleges.
The sisters are finding that they are meeting the goals for educating students that they discussed all those years. Says Osagie: “My ultimate goal is to ensure that all students receive an excellent education that will get them to and through college and beyond, specifically in the areas of STEAM. I want to ensure the opportunity for students to choose college or a high-growth career. Students should be able to leave Achievers ECP with the mindset that ‘I can achieve anything I want to,’ because we prepared them well, giving them the skills and resources to be able to accomplish whatever they want to succeed in.”
This September the school is fully enrolled. But there is more work to do. Running a charter school is a continuing intensive process, says Odeleye, with requirements for leadership, a board of governors, a facilities plan, and curriculum. “We are held to very high standards, and renewed every four years,” she says. (In fact, the school had to scramble to meet state requirements to open on time last fall.)
The school is almost 100 percent funded by federal state and local dollars. According to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), a charter school is a public school that operates as its own Local Education Agency under a charter granted by the commissioner. In New Jersey, the Department of Education is the sole authorizing agent for charter schools, which operate under a charter and are independent of the local school district’s board of education but governed by an independent board of trustees. As of May, 2019, there were 88 charter schools operating in New Jersey, serving approximately 52,000 students enrolled across the state.
Achievers ECP charter school has made a difference in the lives of its pupils, Odeleye says. She spoke of one student she called Lacey, from a single parent home. Lacey had come from a Trenton charter school that had closed, and her morale was low because of that. “Expectations for her had gotten lax,” says Odeleye.
“We needed to reshape the expectations. Challenge, rigor, hold students to a higher bar. Lacey has a strong personality, but her mom is a true partner, and I credit her too. Lacey’s attitude improved; there has been academic growth.”
This past summer, Achievers ECP sent 18 students to participate in the Princeton-Blairstown Center’s Summer Bridge program, a week-long leadership and enrichment program in which they live in a rustic, outdoor setting, with one goal of sustaining learning momentum through the summer.
Education in Trenton is a vital and volatile topic. With an eye on building the Trenton Public School system and attempting to halt funds going to charter schools, those in the school system oppose them. As outgoing Trenton School Superintendent Fred McDowell said in 2018 about the estimated $33,579,954 going to charter schools from the school system’s total operating budget of $260,015,923, “We in Trenton are adamantly opposed to charter school expansion. We are united in that statement.”
However, families looking for immediate results only have to consider the current statistics to think about opting for a charter school. Combining U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 review of Trenton’s three different high school campuses operating during the construction of a new central high school (see story, page 24), Trenton’s high school graduation rate is 67 percent, ranking it 342 of the state’s 350 schools. Its national ranking was 12,935 out of 17,245.
Meanwhile, Odelye and Osagie feel a sense of accomplishment. “The first year was amazing,” says Osagie. “Through our ups and downs — but mostly ups — we were able to achieve so much in one year. Our parents, community advocates, teachers and students really showed us what it really means to be an ‘achiever.’ They did not only believe, but they engaged in the process, challenging us to think, to strengthen our sense of what’s possible, and to act on our most important values. It was a great year indeed and I am looking forward to many great years at Achievers.”
Achievers Early College Prep Charter School, 500 Smith Street, Trenton 08611. 609-429-0279. Osen Osagie and Efe Odeleye, co-founders. www.achieversecp.org.
Not surprisingly for an industry that is based on conjuring money out of thin air, the field of cryptocurrency “initial coin offerings” and “initial token offerings” is rife with allegations of wrongdoing.
The latest company to be accused of misconduct is Pocketinns, a Carnegie Center-based company that started as a travel website, but raised money in January, 2018, by selling “PINNS Tokens” in exchange for Ethereum, a widely used cryptocurrency.
Earlier in August New Jersey attorney general Gurbir S. Grewal filed a lawsuit against Pocketinns and its CEO, Sarvajnya G. Mada, accusing the company of selling PINNS tokens without ensuring that its customers were accredited investors, as was required by Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
On its Linkedin page, Pocketinns describes itself as “a revolutionary new blockchain driven online marketplace ecosystem, built around the decentralized blockchain oriented model.” According to the AG’s complaint, 217 investors who bought into the ecosystem saw their money, $410,000 in all, evaporate into thin air.
In the complaint against Pocketinns, filed in Superior Court in Essex County, the state says the company sold the cryptocurrency under an exemption from normal SEC regulations that allowed it to sell its cryptocurrency as securities as long as it ensured that investors were accredited (i.e. that they were a high net worth individual or represented a qualified institution such as a bank). However, the suit accuses Pocketinns of selling Pinns to unregistered investors.
Pocketinns sought to raise $46 million by selling 30 million PINNS tokens. Investors would buy PINNS using a cryptocurrency called Ether in a “reverse Dutch auction” where the price of the tokens would fall over time until the end of the auction, at which point the lowest price would be applied to all the purchases. The minimum investment was one Ether, which was worth $728 in real money at the time but had fallen to $209 as of press time.
The auction fell short of its goal, raising only $410,000 worth of Ether. The suit accuses Pocketinns of selling PINNS to buyers who did not provide proof of accredited investor status.
The complaint also says the investors’ cryptocurrency has disappeared into the ether: “Mada and Pocketinns have since spent nearly all of the Ether raised from investors with the remainder being lost to the market volatility of Ether.”
The Pocketinns.io website has been taken down. A Reddit page called “Pocketinns Community” was full of unhappy customers demanding their money back, threatening to sue, and calling the company a scam as far back as a year ago.
On the message board, the company had a lone defender, who posted under the name “cryptohustler10” and had only one post, which claimed Pocketinns was “one of the most legitimate company.”
The AG’s lawsuit seeks to ban Mada from selling securities ever again and to pay restitution to investors.
Pocketinns, 300 Carnegie Center, Suite 300, Princeton 08540. Sarvajnya G. Mada. pocketinns.io.
TESU Launches Doctor of Business Administration Degree
Thomas Edison State University, the Trenton-based university for working adults, will launch its second doctoral program, a , with courses that begin next January.
All requirements for the new course can be met online. The doctoral program will be the second for the university, which currently also offers a doctor of nursing practice with a specialization in systems-level leadership.
The DBA degree is designed to enable business students and professionals to advance their careers toward becoming executive leaders, educators, and consultants.
“This degree is at the core of what we do here at Thomas Edison,” said President Merodie A. Hancock. “Professionals pursuing the DBA will be able to infuse their learning immediately into workplace situations: applying knowledge and leadership and understanding the outcomes in real time. This applied scholarship and experiential learning are a powerful combination that will benefit today’s working professionals who seek to advance their careers and become leaders in their fields.”
Sometimes referred to as an “applied doctorate” or a “professional doctorate,” the DBA degree can be completed part-time and is intended to be practical for practicing professionals in a variety of occupations including industry, higher education administration, and consulting.
A grant from the Thomas Edison State University Foundation helped support the cost of developing low or no-cost course materials for the DBA to minimize the costs to students.
The university plans to admit up to 20 applicants in its initial cohort.
Thomas Edison State University, 101 West State Street, Trenton 08608. 888-442-8372. Merodie Hancock, president. www.tesu.edu.
Steven Gubser, 47, on August 3. The Princeton University physics professor died while rock climbing in Chamonix, France, when his rope snapped and he fell 300 feet. Gubser was an award-winning scholar of string theory and black holes. The university will hold a memorial service in the fall.
Leslie Vought Kuenne, 58, on August 12. She was a past president of McCarter Theater Center’s board of trustees and also served on the boards of the Arts Council of Princeton, the Vestry of Trinity Church, and as an officer of the Stony Brook Garden Club. A memorial service takes place Saturday, August 17, at 4 p.m. at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton.
Herbert W. Hobler, 96, on August 10. A World War II veteran and 1944 Princeton University alumnus, he founded the Nassau Broadcast Company, establishing radio stations WHWH and WPST. He served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the YMCA, Hun School, Nassau Club, Tiger Inn, and Princeton Savings and Loan. He was also involved with the Princeton Area Community Foundation and spearheaded the creation of the brick walk in Palmer Square. A memorial service will be announced.
William J. Bregenzer, 90, on August 2. He ran the family business, Bregenzer Brothers, established 1919, which is now under the direction of his son, Mike.
Joseph M. Mancuso, 39, on July 30. He was employed as an electrical appliance inspector at L G Electronics in Cranbury.
Robert F. Penardi, 88, on August 5. Together with his late wife, Joan, he owned and operated Penardi’s Jewelers in Hamilton for many years.
Margaret Berry Gargiullo, 76, on August 6. She was a plant ecologist and botanist who wrote extensively on the subject. In her early career she worked for the Textile Research Institute in Princeton, studying combustion products of fabrics. She later earned a doctorate from Rutgers. Her written works include “A Guide to Native Plants of the New York City Region”; “A Field Guide to Plants of Costa Rica”; and “An Ecological Manual of New York City Plants in Natural Areas.”
Cambridge School is an extraordinary place where children who learn differently thrive. An independent, K-12, nurturing day school located in Pennington, New Jersey, Cambridge specializes in serving children with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, auditory processing disorder, ADHD, and executive function difficulties, among others.
These children are bright and exceedingly capable, yet they are often underserved in other environments. At Cambridge, these children are understood and offered what they need to succeed, both personally and academically.
Cambridge School uses the highest standards to ensure an unparalleled program for their students. The expertly trained team of teachers and therapists provide a rigorous college-bound academic foundation that is predicated on evidence-based research and emphasizes language, critical thinking, executive function, and metacognitive skills. The intensive language-based curriculum includes three 45-minute periods of language instruction daily. This curriculum is delivered through direct, explicit instruction using programs such as Orton-Gillingham, Wilson Reading System, Lindamood-Bell Learning Process, Hochman Basic Writing Skills, and Story Grammar Marker.
Cambridge School classes are small, structured, nurturing, and supported by cutting-edge technology. Students have access to Google Chromebooks, laptops, personal iPads, SMARTBoard, green-screen technology, and 3D printing. G Suite for Education is used to support student learning and allows students to gain the skills necessary for today’s connected world. To further enhance student learning, a wide variety of field trips and experiential learning opportunities are aligned to the curriculum.
Many Cambridge School students benefit from the additional support that speech and language therapy provides. Our speech pathologists work to develop intensive, individualized treatment programs that are tailored to meet each child’s unique challenges. Our ASHA-certified speech and language pathologists have experience with a range of pediatric and adolescent speech and language disorders. Occupational therapy is also available to students as an intervention to develop, recover, or maintain meaningful activities or occupations. Treatment sessions are performed by a doctoral level occupational therapist.
Cambridge’s student-centered approach to education comprehensively supports the whole child. To complement it’s academic program, a well-established athletics program, dynamic visual and performing arts programs, and a variety of extracurricular clubs are offered.
The team at Cambridge School is particularly excited about the Educational Diagnostic Center, now in its fourth year of operation. The EDC was opened in response to a growing need in the community to provide timely and fairly-priced psychoeducational evaluations. Many evaluations conducted at the EDC are completed for the purpose of getting testing accommodations for students taking the ACT or SAT. The EDC team includes nationally certified school psychologists, ASHA certified speech and language pathologists, and NBCOT certified occupational therapists. These EDC professionals, who are experts in their field, provide a full range of evaluations. The Psychoeducational Evaluation incorporates measures to identify language-based learning differences such as: dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and executive function challenges. The Speech and Language Evaluations are designed to assess the components of language, speech development, executive function skills, memory, processing, and articulation. The Occupational Therapy Evaluations assess the impact of occupational performance on school-based activities. Please refer to the EDC website for more detailed information: https://eddiagnostic.org
Cambridge School is fully accredited by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. For more information about Cambridge School, visit www.thecambridgeschool.org.
Fusion Academy is an accredited private school that creates a unique experience for each student, personalizing the curriculum to help them succeed. All of our classes are one-to-one, which means one student and one teacher per classroom, and we offer customized scheduling to fit a student’s lifestyle.
Students come to Fusion for many reasons. Some are looking for an accredited full-time school that is more personalized than their traditional middle or high school. Others are looking to take single classes for credit to remediate or accelerate their learning.
We offer rolling enrollment, so students can start at any time of the year, even mid-semester or in the summer. Our campus is open beyond traditional school hours, so students may supplement their current education by joining us after school for a course, tutoring/mentoring, or Post-Secondary services.
Curriculum. From algebra to yoga and everything in between, Fusion offers over 250 middle and high school courses, all of which meet state standards. Fusion teachers have also created classes for students if there is something students would like to learn that isn’t available in their catalog, while still adhering to state standards. We have Homework Cafés at all of our campuses, so students can work on homework between classes while receiving support from teachers and staff on their projects.
Creative expression is at the core of Fusion, as we understand the pivotal role it plays in students’ well-being. We offer a robust roster of elective classes like DJ Performing Arts, Graphic Design, Music Theory, Vocal Fundamentals, Recording Arts, Studio Art, Digital Photography, Film Studies, and more. Our campus includes a state-of-the-art recording studio and a mixed-media art studio for students to explore their creativity or add to their portfolio.
Post-Secondary. We have a dedicated Post-Secondary Counselor to help students navigate the often-confusing post-high school journey. They can assist with all aspects of the college selection and application process, and help students build confidence to pursue their path.
Many students also join us during the summer to catch up from a previous semester, get ahead before the fall, or to try something completely new. All our offerings are available in the summer, so students can build a schedule that works for them, and around their summer plans (as availability allows).
Visit Our Campus. At Fusion, we know making a school decision is not easy, and we want you to find the best possible school for your child and your family. We would love to learn more about your story and to see if Fusion could be the right fit for your student.
The esteemed Princeton Ballet School is 65 years young and going strong. Classes for this landmark season are starting September 9.
Founded in 1954 by Audrée Estey, Princeton Ballet School is known for nurturing developing dancers in a safe and progressive way and is recognized as one of the nation’s finest nonprofit dance schools. Its philosophy, outstanding faculty, affiliation with a professional ballet company (American Repertory Ballet), its dedication to live music in the classroom and state-of-the-art facilities are just some of the features that distinguish Princeton Ballet School from other dance schools.
Julie Diana Hench, Executive Director of Princeton Ballet School (PBS) and American Repertory Ballet (ARB) points out, “Princeton Ballet School nurtures the student in an age and developmentally appropriate way. Our classes allow younger students more time for movement exploration while providing advanced students with the tools to become professional dancers, if they so choose. As a result, students develop self-esteem, self-discipline, and a strong fitness level that will provide a powerful edge in any future endeavor.”
Under the inspiring direction of Aydmara Cabrera, formerly a principal dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba, the school serves approximately 1,000 students. Age appropriate classes begin for students at age three, and include a large open enrollment division for adults.
“Princeton Ballet School has a long history of providing high quality dance instruction to adult students, where people of all ages from all walks of life enjoy dance class as their chosen form of exercise or artistic pursuit,” Hench comments. “We welcome everyone!
“After 65 years, we know multiple generations who have been our students.” Hench says proudly. “In fact, one of our teachers, Shari Nyce, was a Princeton Ballet School student and a founding member of Princeton Ballet Company, which was later renamed the American Repertory Ballet. Shari’s mother Kathryn worked with Princeton Ballet School founder, Audrée Estey, as wardrobe supervisor, and Shari’s own daughters, Keiran and Finlay, are Princeton Ballet School conservatory students.”
The school has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick and Princeton and offers classes in ballet, modern dance, jazz, hip-hop, CardioBallet, and CoMBo (Conditioning for the Mind and Body). Students have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies around the world, including New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, and on Broadway.
“This fall, we’re excited that our New Brunswick studio location will become part of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC). The NBPAC consists of two modern theaters, dedicated rehearsal studios, academic and office space. This new venue will enable us to offer even more diverse and expanded programming,” says Hench. “We will continue to offer the same wide range of classes and programs at our Princeton and Cranbury locations.”
Now is the time to indulge your passion for dance, regardless of age or experience. Explore the wide range of classes and become part of the Princeton Ballet School family.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Princeton Ballet School – A Place for Everyone! Call 609-921-7758 or visit www.arballet.org.
Princeton Montessori School has long been known for offering exemplary Early Childhood and Elementary programs for young learners from infants through eighth grade, guided by the principles of the Montessori approach to education. The school recently received authorization to offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme for grades six through eight. PrincetonMontessori School has been providing children from the greater Princeton area with the very best in Montessori education for more than 50 years.
As Michelle Morrison, Head of School, states, “At the heart of Montessori education is nurturing the potential in each child and personalizing learning. With our Montessori and International Baccalaureate middle school program develops is critical thinking, working collaboratively, and acting ethically and boldly — all skill sets for the 21st century and beyond. Adapted specifically to meet the needs of the sensitive early adolescent years, this educational experience is progressive, exceptional, and unique.”
The IB Middle Years Programme offers a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. Montessori education is built on the understanding that students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and their experience of the world that they have experienced. IB programs compliment the Montessori approach by offering an education that focuses on teaching students to think critically and independently, and adapt a global view through their studies . Completion of the Middle Years Programme at Princeton Montessori School prepares students to succeed in a world where learning is continual, change is a given, and one’s core competencies and ethical values drive success.
The Princeton Montessori School approach to education is grounded in Montessori philosophy and centered around the following core values:
The teachers respect each child as a unique individual. Children are viewed as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully-prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child.
An understanding that not all children learn at the same pace. The Montessori curriculum is personalized to the needs of the student, which leads to children feeling confident in their abilities.
Independence and competence lead to self-confidence. These are the first steps in developing creative thinkers and confident learners. These skills are nurtured and developed in all programs through hands-on learning experiences.
Character development is a central focus within the curriculum. Peace and conflict resolution are practiced daily as children learn to be part of a warm, respectful, and supportive community.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Education should be the lighting of a spark — igniting of a passion — from within. Children learn through hands-on activities and experiences, not through rote memorization. Teachers create purposeful environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Come see what sets Princeton Montessori School apart! Limited openings are available for the fall. Tours are weekdays by appointment. Visit princetonmontessori.org to learn more and to schedule your tour.
Westminster Conservatory’s summer music camps offer a wide range of musical experiences for toddlers through high-school kids…with or without previous musical experience. Beginners to advanced students can enjoy choral, strings, piano, flute, and chamber music camps as well as musical theater and jazz camps. Early childhood music camps provide a great introduction to musical exploration for the younger students.
Westminster Conservatory’s camp faculty are experienced teachers and performers who are excited to share their musical and artistic passion with the students. If you are looking for a nurturing and stimulating environment for your child to explore and discover the world of music with other kids who share the same excitement, check out Westminster Conservatory! Visit our website to register! www.rider.edu/conservatorycamps
In 1990 Stephanie Burroughs worked on a large-scale rail transportation construction project. She worked within the sector of diversity for vendors, suppliers, and business owners before being promoted as the contract compliance monitor. Her new job became monitoring the railroad sites from the ground.
“This completely changed the trajectory of my life,” she says. “That’s when it all began.”
Now an expert on diversity in organizations, Burroughs helps businesses improve their own hiring processes. On Tuesday, August 20, at noon Burroughs will present “Demystifying the Diversity Certification Alphabet Soup” in partnership with the New Jersey Small Business Development Center. The free webinar is designed to help businesses gain clarity throughout the processes she has witnessed and assisted for over 30 years. Visit www.sbdcnj.com to register.
Burroughs learned about federal minority business programs after becoming a compliance monitor, which entailed helping business people meet the goals and requirements of the Department of Transportation. She met with owners of major construction companies as well as spending time in the field speaking with laborers.
But Burroughs, who earned a bachelor of science in management at Rutgers-Newark in 1984, still thought her passion lay in human resources. She took a break from this job to work HR at the Port Authority. Unexpectedly, a separate position opened up within another department, formerly known as the Office of Business and Job Opportunity.
“I interviewed for it, and I interviewed them as well,” she says. “Being an HR person, you can’t help but doing that. When the manager asked, ‘Do you have questions for me?’ I had 16 questions already prepared on a legal pad.”
That job brought Burroughs back into the world of diversity certifications. At the time Minority Business Enterprise was the latest certification, but as new programs emerged she became experts in them, too.
Burroughs was responsible for knowing and auditing certifications. When the Small Business Race Neutral Program was established, Burroughs was put on a team to implement and certify it. She helped create the application for the Women Business Enterprise Program before auditing them and teaching people how to navigate the process of applying.
“I am the first and only black and female out there on the construction site at Port Authority,” Burroughs says. “That’s a whole other story, what women have to go through.”
She calls this grit and growth.
“When I hear what women are going through in terms of the workplace, we didn’t have all these organizations out there yet,” she added. “In fact, women weren’t out there. I was giving my best, being my best, doing my best, and knocking down barriers for minority businesses to be able to get in the door — particularly African-Americans because that’s who I am in — and to understand the process and to learn how to move and work and acquire contracts in these large projects.”
Burroughs led programs for contractors and minority small businesses in New Jersey and New York and later worked for NJ Transit and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
“I have so many [clients] coming to me saying that people for years have been telling them to get all of the certifications, and I’m just shocked,” she says. “You are wasting time that you could be working and running your business and getting your contract. You need to be very, very specific about which ones are necessary.”
Burroughs stresses that having a certification isn’t always the end of the story; it matters who certified you, she says. She wants to explain to her audience why the process matters and how to navigate it efficiently. In the webinar, Burroughs will explain the process through relevant online resources.
“That’s what this is all about, and this particular webinar demystifies — taking the mystery out of it — and answering the questions, most importantly,” she said. “There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet. They will avoid making many mistakes and wasting valuable time applying for diversity certifications that are not necessary for their business. The opportunity for small, minority-owned, women owned, veteran owned and service disabled veteran owned, and small business enterprises to contract with government agencies is expanding, but too many of them are not certified or prepared to take advantage of the growing need agencies, corporations, and large businesses or prime contractors have for qualified businesses.”
Her clients and audience are vast, from companies that are doing business with public agencies, government agencies, and corporate and commercial entities from banks and financial institutions to pharmacies. Inventors have come to Burroughs in the past, which presents an even bigger challenge. And everyone’s case is different, she says. “The guidelines or laws they need to follow [present] different nuances.”
Ultimately, certifications are only side of the equation.
“My focus is on getting you contracts, and the certification is a part of that,” she says, adding that this webinar leads up to an in-person workshop through the American Small Business Development Center of Mercer County on Wednesday, September 18, at the College of New Jersey. Clients will be guided through the preparation of documentation and applications for New Jersey’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Certification.
In addition to her expertise on minority certifications and government contracts, Burroughs also works as an inspirational speaker and coach. In November she will be the guest speaker at four-time Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs’ Women’s Empowerment Summit in New Brunswick. “For years, I’d say ‘Get a grip and grow some grit,’” Burroughs says. “And [Clark Diggs] told me that’s what she wants me to talk about.”
Grit is not only the theme of her talk and of her coaching program; it’s also an acronym for Burroughs: grounded, resilient, intentional, and tenacious. Her speaking engagements, including her online workshops, reflect this mission.
“This all comes from having had my hands in the pot, stirring the pot, doing the work,” she says. “I’m able to explain to them having been on the other side of actually auditing. I know whether or not they’re going to meet the criteria. I don’t want to waste their time. I don’t want them wasting their time.”